Lego (never Legos…) was a big part of my childhood – as it turned out, this continued when I went to work for Legoland Windsor – but however hard I tried I was never good with following the instructions. One man who is great at following instructions though, is Emmet, star of The Lego Movie.
In many ways, the fact that this story is about and told in the medium of Lego, is irrelevant (you could have swapped them out for any creative toy you could imagine) as like all good films, it has characters that you care about.
Emmet isn’t special, something which the film continues to remind us within an inch of our lives, but he is likeable as a protagonist for our story. In a nutshell, the Lego city Emmet lives in is run on instructions and, as you can imagine, the result is a society which works very efficiently. Construction is uniform, everyone likes everyone, likes what they hear, likes what they watch – and it is incredibly dull.
Enter the Rebellion…ahem, I mean the Master Builders. These alternative thinkers literally remake the world for their own ends, seeing the world as a collection of bricks which can be rearranged into anything they can imagine.
Emmet does not have such powers, which cues an immediate familiarity with our hero for others who struggles trying to dig out that blue six-er from the bottom of the toy box that you really needed to complete this model of an X-wing.
Released right around half term in the UK, there’s no doubt that this film is primarily aimed at children, but really it can’t help but appeal to the child inside every would-be Master Builder (I know, I know, vomit away).
Brushing all of that aside though, there is a good film left standing proudly in its own right. The jokes work pretty well, despite one plot point slightly relying on the fact that people are aware that Krazy Glue is a brand of superglue. Luckily the plot holds together (again…sorry) without this nugget of information and leads Emmet on an exciting adventure complete with more cameos than you could reasonably expect from any other film.
The voice cast is talented, particularly the A-listers hiding away in supporting roles. Morgan Freeman brings a surprising amount of humour and attitude to a role which could be a very typical mentor-type affair.
Batman, everyone’s favourite minifigure, is gifted with the most fun writing, playing off his recent incarnations on screen in a way which would be impossible to do in any other way than in Lego form. Will Ferrell is just as good as you might expect, but the gold really should go to Liam Neeson for his portrayal of Good Cop/Bad Cop. I was waiting for a Taken reference to pop up, but alas.
Emmet himself (Chris Pratt) is particularly well balanced, and never seems phoney or superficial as a character, something key to making the slightly bizarre storyline work.
The mishmash of other characters actually steer away from the stereotypes for the most part, offering a bit more oddness and character than they needed, and the film is all the better for it. A particular highlight is the slightly deranged Unikitty, ruler of Cloud Cuckoo Land – yup, seriously.
Is this a film worth seeing then? Yes, but if you hate Lego it isn’t going to win you ever, if it ever could. Disregarding the interlocking brick system entirely the film performs more than adequately for a kids film and takes a solid step into serious film territory.
In all an experience perfect to enjoy for what it is. It might not change your life, but it can be that little reminder to take things a little less seriously that everyone needs from time to time.
James Michael Parry